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Before you leave:

         There is a lot to consider when making your finances work for traveling long term. To be honest, everyone I have met makes ends meet in  different ways. Ultimately, the best advice I can give is to remember that low-budget travel is a life-style, not a vacation. Have fun, but be picky about what you’re willing to spend your money on. Conserving the cash you have is more important than your income.


           Do you have a deadline of when you’ll be  returning home? Are you planning on working along the way? Be honest with your work and tell as many people possible of your plans. Your employer might even offer you your job when you come back or know other people in the field with remote jobs you could work from abroad You will be surprised at the amount of connections you already have..


             Before I left on my trip, I tried to set myself up in the best possible way to have low stress and some income while traveling. I put all of my memberships that I could on hold (so I wouldn’t be paying while abroad), such as gym, monthly mail order clubs, media subscriptions etc.  I sold things that I didn’t need anymore for extra cash and let my bank know that I would be traveling. I also switched my credit card to an international one to get points and not be charged fees or receive poor exchange rates. I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and love it. All of my expenses were already on automatic payment so I didn’t have to worry. I rented out my house to  responsible people.  After paying my mortgage, I live off of the money I am making from the house. One of my renters is also a good friend. In exchange for him taking care of my house and helping to watch my cute little Australian cattle-dog, Sierra, I gave him discounted rent. 


Choosing a Destination Based on Budget:

              Next, picking where to go. Choose a place based on your desired travel experience, while keeping in mind your budget. For example, I typically know that I want an adventurous place that I haven’t been before. Then, I think what kind of adventure (cultural, physically demanding, etc.) and what destination could provide me that experience for the most value.


      The world is beautiful, I would never skimp  on seeing, living and being in a place I long to be. However, I also realize that there is a time and a place for every destination in your life. If something is really expensive then maybe go for a shorter time period or save it for later. It would suck to go somewhere you love and not have the finances to enjoy the things you want. I’m blessed that the most inexpensive places tend to lie the closest to my heart.


         The least expensive places I have ever been were Nicaragua and South East Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam). I easily lived on less than $30 per day there (including stay, food, etc.) The most expensive places I have ever been are Australia, Israel, and Greece where $50 per day is a more reasonable budget. If you are drinking often and doing a lot of excursions, it is going to be more expensive. For detailed finances needed for each country, see the article I wrote for that country. 


Buying an Airline Ticket

        Buying an airline ticket is the biggest up-front investment. Always use multiple fare scanners and check the prices over a few weeks. It’s important to play with the dates before buying. My favorite websites to purchase tickets from are, and  Typically, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the most inexpensive days to fly. Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive.


      When buying a plane ticket, consider not only the initial cost of the plane ticket but also if there are other countries close by you that you’d like to travel to. The more practical you make your travel plans, typically, the less expensive. If you are planning on going from one continent to another, always check those prices initially too.

            Ok! So you’ve quit your job/have the time off, AND got a stellar deal so book your ticket! Here are some ways to save money while traveling.



           The longer you stay in one place, the cheaper it becomes. Renting a weekly or monthly apartment, or asking a hostel owner for a long-term stay discount will significantly cut the price that you will pay for rent. Doing a work exchange is a great option, as you can work on some really cool projects such as building a house in Bali, or organic gardening in the Patagonia. In exchange for a few hours of work, you may receive free accommodations and food. Couchsurfer’s is another good option. However, be particular and read reviews on all the people you stay with, especially if you are a woman. Lots of losers ruin the site by trying to use it to hook-up.


Food Costs:

      Most restaurants are expensive and the food sucks.  When eating out, the best food in most countries is the street food. It’s authentic and cheap. When they talk about the famous pizza in Napoli, it’s not the pizza that costs $15 U.S. in a restaurant, it’s the  $.50 U.S. pizza sold by the local street venders. It is true for the taco shops in Mexico and everything in between. The only rule of thumb I have is to eat where the locals go. If no people are in a restaurant, despite the glitz and glam, it’s a clear sign of foul food.


         Magosteen, Carambola, Rambutan…ahhh delicious!!! Those are only three of the exotic fruits that I had never experienced before traveling. The local markets are to die for and the food is half the price of buying prepared food. There are a million different varieties of vegetables, fruits, cheeses and other items that I guarantee are as mouthwatering as they are unfamiliar to you.


        Food develops characteristics to overcome the environmental challenges of the place it is grown. These are the same challenges your body faces when living there, so by eating the local food, your body also becomes more resistant and protected from the environmental elements of where you are. Hence, eating the local food in the supermarkets is also healthier, in my opinion.


      It is an adventure to cook and shop this way, but also, is a good habit that will save you tons of money. The culture of many hostels revolves around preparing and eating your meals together. Those meals have a 90% chance of turning into priceless nights of sharing music, wine, guitar lesson, mind-blowing conversations, and rolling fits of laughter.


Transportation and the Power of Numbers:

       Getting around cheapest just depends on where you are. Check your options. Buses/shuttles/trains are always good options if you are traveling solo. For cheap airline tickets always use fare scanners. If traveling in the United States, check Spirit Airlines. In Europe RyanAir has ridiculously cheap flights.

        There is a lot more power in numbers for transportation. Renting a car is usually 20 bucks a day tops (if you don’t opt for insurance, around $33 if you do). If you can drive manual, the car is always cheaper. This can be expensive for one person, but if you get four people to a car, five dollars a day is nothing and it is way more fun to road trip with others! The freer you are in your travels, the easier it is to pick up rides with other people and go to exotic places you have never heard of!

       Think outside of the box a bit. Boats, sailing, biking, motorcycling or walking across part of a country are much cooler ways to see a place than using standard forms of transportation.

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